2. Novel Coronavirus Response and CEO Message

Novel Coronavirus Response and CEO Message

24 Apr. 2020
Asahi Group Holdings, Ltd.

The Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic continues to spread around the world, with no end yet in sight. We would like to express our deepest sympathies to all those who have become infected and to their families. We would also like to express our sincerest gratitude to the healthcare professionals and others who are on the frontline of this battle day and night.

The Asahi Group has established a Novel Coronavirus Emergency Task Force headed byRepresentative Director and CEO Akiyoshi Koji. The task force is gathering informationsuch as the virus’s impact on employee safety, our supply chain and businessperformance. Based on this information, the Task Force is working rapidly to makedecisions and implement appropriate countermeasures. All members of the Asahi Groupare working together to overcome the difficult challenge presented by the currentemergency situation and all members have shown extraordinary effort, discipline andmorale in dealing with the disruption as outlined below, to fulfil our responsibilities to allstakeholders, in accordance with the Asahi Group Philosophy

1. Fulfilling our responsibilities to stakeholders

Support for employees

The health and safety of Group employees and their families is our top priority. As ageneral rule, Group employees around the world are now working from home incompliance with requests from their respective country’s governments. Employeesworking in production and logistics and other functions that are crucial to the fulfilment ofour responsibilities as a product supplier are continuing with their on-site work dutieswhile thoroughly observing hygiene protocols and maintaining a safe workingenvironment. Even if the negative impact on our business results is worsened byprolongation of this pandemic, we will remain committed to protecting employees as ourtop priority during the crisis, and we are communicating to all the Asahi Group companiesaround the world our policy of taking possible measures to preserve employment as faras possible and provide appropriate support. We will continue to monitor the situationand review impacts on a periodic basis.

Responding to consumer needs

To fulfil our responsibility to supply the many consumers who have favoured us with theirpatronage of the Asahi Group’s alcohol beverages, soft drinks, and food products, we arecontinuing to produce these products at our plants in all region of the world. We will alsocontinue to fulfil our mission to “Deliver on our great taste promise and bring more fun tolife" by responding in an appropriate manner to the circumstances in each of thecountries where we manufacture and sell our products. This includes offerings to dealwith such business environment changes as the decline in demand for on-premise consumption and the increase in demand for products for home use. We will also focusproduct development on consumer needs in the midst and post-pandemic world.

Support for customers and business partners

Fulfilling our responsibilities as a supplier requires not only the efforts of the Asahi Groupemployees but also the cooperation of suppliers of raw materials and ingredients, andthe many on-premise venues and retail outlets that help us provide our products toconsumers. We are working closely with our customers and business partners who havebeen severely impacted by the crisis. We will continue to provide as much support aspossible to them to try to mitigate the negative impact of the adverse businessenvironment and we are confident that we recover quickly together when this disruptivesituation comes to an end.

Support for local communities

Contributing to a sustainable society through our business is one of the action guidelinesand commitments set forth in the Asahi Group Philosophy. Accordingly, we are increasingour support for local communities in countries around the world. In Japan, we aredonating Asahi products to Children’s Cafeteria operated by NPO and local communitiesand to healthcare professionals (total contributions made thus far in Japan equate toabout JPY260 million). Meanwhile, overseas bases in the United Kingdom, CzechRepublic, and other countries are providing products of the Asahi Group and financialsupport to hospitals, fire stations, and other institutions on the frontline in the battleagainst the outbreak. We will continue to provide support appropriate to thecircumstances in each country and to contribute to further expanding the sphere ofmutual support.

Response to shareholders and investors

Demand for alcohol beverages from the on-premise outlets has dropped significantly in thearea we operate such as Japan, Australia, Europe, and other regions. Given the level ofuncertainty and the lack of clarity of Covid-19 impact, it is too early to forecast full year guidance.However, we will endeavour to disclose relevant information when we announce our firstquarter results, including our analysis of the situation in each region and measures to dealwith falling sales volumes. We will also provide timely updates based on our continuedmonitoring of the situation. In addition, we will continue to secure the Group’s financialsoundness through optimal cash flow management, and we remain committed to the planproviding shareholders with a stable dividend increase despite changes in our businessperformance. We remain confident that the Group will be well positioned to overcome this crisisand keep ourselves ready for changed circumstances and continue to deliver our plans forlong-term.

2. CEO Message

As the number of people infected by the COVID-19 continues to rise around the world,our efforts to keep our business with ensuring the safety of Group employees worldwideof approximately 30,000 employees and their families, which has been our top priority inthis difficult time. Meanwhile, our many Group companies and employees around theworld, although in a difficult time such as none of us have ever before experienced, arecontinuing to coordinate closely with customers and business partners and providesupport to their local communities while working to fulfil our responsibilities as a supplier

Throughout history, humankind has battled many infectious diseases and hasexperienced countless natural disasters, and each time, we have powerfully andresiliently overcome them. Past Experience shows us that no matter how huge theadversity we face, we always manage to open up a path to the future. The postpandemic world is expected to be different in many ways. I believe the New Normal inthis post-pandemic world will present us with new seeds for future growth and prosperity.My positive outlook is underpinned by the strength of the Asahi Group’s brands, whichare cherished locally and globally, our wealth of technologies and know-how that enableus to produce the highest quality products even in times of crisis, and above all, ouremployees’ commitment to working together to realize the Asahi Group Philosophy.

The COVID-19 continues to present us with a difficult situation, but please remember thatafter night comes the day for sure. I am confident that the Asahi Group employeesaround the world will be able to overcome this predicament by uniting together andbuilding strong collaborative relations with all of our stakeholders.

Akiyoshi Koji
President and Representative Director, CEO